The Asian continent is known for its incredibly beautiful and brightly-coloured architecture, though few cruise ports have quite the same impact as the spectacular Ko Samui. Fishing and coconut farming have been the main source of commerce for the island's residents over hundreds of years, and tourists have only recently started flocking to this stunning location. Beautiful white sandy beaches give way to crystal clear waters, alongside wooden beach shacks with a backdrop of luxury holiday resorts. Where your ship docks in Nathon is just a short walk from the town centre and beach, so a cruise excursion in Ko Samui starts from the moment you disembark.
1.5 million tourists visit Ko Samui each year. Many of these are regular cruisers who can't resist frequent returns to the island. Those experiencing Ko Samui for the first time find that they're surrounded by photogenic landmarks, friendly locals and restaurants serving flavourful local cuisine. If you relax on the beach then you may find that you're offered a pedicure, and that you're occasionally approached by residents selling food, clothing and souvenirs. In total, Ko Samui has an area of 95 square miles, scattered wtih some of Indonesia's most interesting natural landmarks and attractions.
Read More Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo
Animal attractions on the island don't get much better than this. The aquarium is home to native creatures ranging from tropical fish to sea turtles, and visitors can get up close for photographs with the tigers. Birds, tigers and sea lions all take part in daily shows, and there are other animals including monkeys and otters on site.
If you're looking to experience something unique and unforgettable, then Ko Samui won't let you down. Climb on the back of an elephant for guided trekking through lush, green forests and tropical surroundings.
Ko Samui's Frisbee golf course offers an interesting alternative to an ordinary round of golf. Test your disc-throwing skills, and compete against friends and family.
Shopping in Ko Samui
Intended as a destination for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation, this island isn't packed full of shops like others that you might visit. Instead, use your time to visit the small number of shops selling local souvenirs including carved monkey ornaments, serving bowls, utensils and baskets. Thai silk clothes are also sold, though other destinations will probably offer a much wider selection to choose from.
Rather than spending time touring the island's shops, you can let the vendors come to you whilst on the island of Ko Samui. Locals often visit beaches to sell their wares to the hundreds of tourists that make their way to the sand each day. Keep some money by your side, and you'll have no trouble buying something interesting as you top up your tan.
Eating out in Ko Samui
Fishing has always been important to the people of the island. Ko Samui's restaurants serve a range of fresh and delicious fish. Thai foods include curries, steamed fish, grilled fish or fried fish, often prepared with a variety of herbs and spices. Garlic and ginger are commonly added to foods, which are made hotter by the addition of peppers on request. You can usually find meat and noodles served from stalls by the beach, as well as salads featuring fresh, green and crunchy leaves.
If you're looking for somewhere calming and romantic, then make your way to the Spirit House for a meal by the lotus pond. The Spirit House is a converted temple, and is also the place to go for cooking classes. Call in, and you'll learn how to prepare authentic Thai food using the finest and freshest ingredients. Develop your skills, and take your new knowledge home.